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Clermont Farm

Title- Passages: Falling Together

Medium- round bales, timbers


Upon making a visit to Clermont farm, and taking a guided tour, we noticed that doorways to both the slave quarters and the kitchen (service-entry) were unusually small (in height: roughly 5'), an architectural reminder of division and place; forcing one to slouch in passing through.


Given our collaborative sculpture would itself be a kind of entrance, opening onto the farm and this exhibition, we wanted to echo something of what caught our attention here, in the doorway we would build, quite literally, by keeping to the same proportions, however invisible they might become through growing large.


Round hay bales, from the present day functioning farm, were used to create the form of this monumental scale doorway. 


Mimicking the timber framing technology used throughout the former Virginia plantation, salvaged timbers (from deconstructed barns nearby) were used to support the walls of "our" doorway, like braces on decayed old ruins. 


In addition, it is important to acknowledge that the individuals operating the farm today contributed immeasurably to shaping the materials gathered on site.


The shift in scale transformed this door into a kind of hallway, filtering out peripheral sound, in kinship with the passage that was added to the house (in the early 18th century; reflecting a trend amongst planters in Virginia) as a way of sorting visitors between family, friends, and acquaintances.  


The open space of the doorway contains a double cross, which prevents the doorway from collapsing. 


It is aligned toward the cemetery grounds, where free and slave were buried together. 


This too, however, is not without complication.